Titans Wrap Up Road Trip with Waves

May 9, 2011

PLAY BALL: Cal State Fullerton (33-13) visit Pepperdine (19-24) on Tuesday in a non-conference match up before returning home for the last regular season home series against long-time rival Long Beach State.

The Titans, who had lost four of six from Apr. 21 to Apr. 30 seem to be back on track having won their last four in a row and six of their last eight.

The Titans have not had a full roster of its regular players since before the series at Hawaii (Mar. 25 to 27) and continue to find setbacks on the injury front. The Titans saw ace right-hander Noe Ramirez (sprained ankle), outfielder Michael Lorenzen (sprained wrist) and Richy Pedroza (both left and right shoulders) return to the line-up last weekend at Riverside, only to see another of its key players, Anthony Trajano (hamstring), go down with injury. There is no timetable for Trajano's return.

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THIS WEEK IN TITAN BASEBALL:
May 10 at Pepperdine (Page Stadium), 3 p.m.
Follow the Game: GameTracker / Live Audio on fullertontitans.com
Pitching Probables:
CSF: RHP, Jake Floethe (3-2, 3.18 ERA)
PEP: LHP, Alex Najera (0-3, 4.40 ERA)

May 13 vs. Long Beach State (Goodwin Field), 7 p.m.
May 14 vs. Long Beach State (Goodwin Field), 6 p.m.
May 15 vs. Long Beach State (Goodwin Field), 1 p.m.

LAST WEEKEND: Fullerton has a 2 1/2-game lead in the standings on UC Irvine and 4 games on third-place Cal Poly after the Titans registered their first series sweep at UC Riverside over the past weekend. The pitching staff allowed only 6 runs in 3 games.

Noe Ramirez was back in action on Friday after missing two weeks with an ankle injury. He allowed only 1 hit and 1 run in six innings and the Titans piled up 16 hits -- all singles -- for a 4-1 victory. Carlos Lopez's 2-run single in the first set the tone for the series. Dylan Floro pitched a scoreless seventh and Nick Ramirez went two scoreless innings for his 10th save.

The Titans did all of their scoring Saturday in the final three innings for a 5-3 victory that went to reliever Chris Devenski with Ramirez logging save No. 11. Greg Velasquez' 2-run pinch-hit single tied the game at 2-2 in the seventh. Ramirez' 8th homer of the year tied the game at 3-3 in the eighth and the Titans won it in the ninth. Michael Lorenzen and Richy Pedroza were aboard after singles and both scored on a Dustin Emmons' wild pitch.

Tyler Pill, who got a no-decision with 7 innings on Saturday, delivered the go-ahead RBI Sunday with an infield single for a 2-1 lead in the seventh. The Titans got an insurance run on Keegan Dale's RBI bunt single in the eighth and Ramirez got his third save of the weekend, surviving the second run he had allowed all season and getting the final out with the tying run at second. Colin O'Connell pitched three perfect innings of relief for the win after starter Floro flirted with trouble for five innings, allowing 10 hits but only one run. &\#8232;

VERSUS PEPPERDINE: The Titans hold a 54-40 record over the Waves at the Div. I level (since 1975), and are coming off a 13-3 win back on Apr. 5, and a 2010 campaign that saw them win two of the three meetings (4-7, 12-5, 10-7). Fullerton has won each of the last three meetings. The Titans are 5-2 against the Waves under Head Coach Dave Serrano and 18-21 all-time on the road. The two teams were a part of the same conference (SCBA) from 1977 to 1984, when the Titans held an all-time conference mark of 19-13. Both team have met 9 times in the postseason, seven times in Regional play (5-2 CSF) and two times at the College World Series (1-1). The Titans were the NCAA runners up to the national champion Waves in 1992, as they lost, 3-2, in the final game of the College World Series at Johnny Rosenblatt Stadium. This week's meeting is the final one of the 2011 regular season.

LAST TIME OUT VS WAVES: Carlos Lopez drove home 5 runs (3-run home run, 2-run single) in a 9-run fourth inning as the Titans had to come from behind to beat the Waves, 13-3, in non-conference action on Apr. 5. David Hurlbut (2 IP, 3 H, 0 BB, 2 K), the first of four relievers behind starter Colin O'Connell (4 IP, 3 R, 2 ER, 7 H), got the win and improved to 2-0. Christian Coronado, Raymond Hernandez and Chris Devenski combined for three hitless innings with Hernandez striking out the side in the eighth. Richy Pedroza also had a bases loaded-triple in the fourth.

TUESDAY'S STARTER: Junior Jake Floethe has struggled recently, unable to escape the fourth inning in each of his past three starts versus San Diego (Apr. 26: 2 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 1 K), UC Santa Barbara (Apr. 16: 1.2 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 2 K) and UC irvine (Apr. 8, 3.1 IP, 7 H, 8 R, 4 ER, 3 BB, 4 K). He has given up runs in each of his last five appearances (3 starts and two relief appearances) and looks to get back to the form that he had when he two-hit UC Davis over eight innings back on Apr. 1. In that game, he didn't allow a run and struck out six in the Titans 14-0 win over the Aggies.

NIRAM'S BIG WEEKEND: Like most of the Titans, Nick Ramirez did not have gaudy numbers last weekend against a tough UC Riverside team in a key Big West series, but he did figure in all three of the games both at the plate and on the mound. The Anaheim native was 5-for-14 (.357) with a double, a home run and two RBI, AND also logged a save in all three games. On Friday night, Ramirez was 3-for-5 with an RBI, the third run in a 4-1 victory. He then slid over from first base and pitched two perfect innings for his 10th save of the year. On Saturday, with the Titans trailing, 3-2, he belted his Big West-leading eighth home run of the year to tie the game (also logging his Big-West leading 8th RBI) with two out, and then picked up save No. 2 on the weekend with a scoreless ninth inning. On Sunday, a double and his third save of weekend and 12th of the season capped the first Cal State Fullerton sweep of UC Riverside on the road in the history of the two teams meeting. The run Ramirez allowed in the 9th inning of Sunday's game was the first since Feb. 26 at TCU and just his second of the season in over 19 innings of work.

NICK SAVES: Southpaw Nick Ramirez saved all three games last weekend against UC Riverside and now stands at 30 career saves which ranks him alone at No. 3 in the all-time Cal State Fullerton career record book. So far this season, Ramirez has passed Adam Jorgenson and Kirk Saarloos (22 saves), Ted Silva (26 saves) and Vinnie Pestano (27 saves) and sits just two off Scott Wright's second place spot and four off of record holder Chad Cordero's 34 saves form 2001-03. Nick's 12 saves on the year ranks him tied with Cordero (2002) for the sixth most in a single season. The single-season record is held by Wright, who recorded 22 saves for the 1984 national champions.

TWO-WAY CLOSERS: Nick Ramirez and Titan Hall of Famer Mark Kotsay are the only two players that both hit and pitch on the Fullerton all-time Top 10 saves list. Kotsay saved 14 games in his career, 11 of those in 1995 en route to a national championship. Kotsay was a career .404 hitter with 45 home runs and 216 RBI. He was 3-2 with 14 saves (10th all-time at CSF) and compiled a 3.90 career ERA. Ramirez is a career .316 hitter with 34 home runs and 144 RBI and is 5-4 with 30 saves and a 2.67 ERA on the mound.

NOE'S RETURN: Junior Noe Ramirez had not pitched since Apr. 15 against Santa Barbara, and in his first game back from a sprained ankle, the righty didn't allow an earned run over six innings while giving up just one hit to UC Riverside in the series opener. The series was a big one for the Titans, and in a venue (Riverside Sports Complex) that they had not been very successful in in the past (just 14-13 heading into the weekend all-time). Ramirez faced just two batters over the minimum through six innings and threw just 86 pitches, striking out five along the way. Ramirez improved to 7-2 on the year (tying Matt Summers and Mason Radeke for the conference lead in wins), and lowered his Big West leading-ERA to a minuscule, 1.86. Noe's performance helped the Titans not only set the tone for the big weekend series sweep of UC Riverside, but also helped the Titans win consecutive games for the first time since Apr. 16 and 17 against UC Santa Barbara.

TITAN TIDBITS:
&\#149; The Titans are 16-9 in road games this season and 15-6 in the daytime. They are also 5-1 against left-handed starters.

&\#149; Over their last 21 games, the Titans have had double-digits in hits 14 times and 8 times in the last 10 ballgames.

&\#149; The Titans, now with a conference-leading 70 stolen bases, tied their season high with four bases on Sunday at UC Riverside. It is just the third time it had happened all season long. Fullerton has 25 more stolen bases than the second best team in the league (Pacific). Fullerton is led by Big West leader Ivory Thomas (17) and Michael Lorenzen (11, t-5th).

&\#149; Last week, the Titans hit .396 as a team (44-for-111) in their first series sweep of UC Riverside at the Riverside Sports Complex. The Titan pitching staff was 3-0, with 3 saves, a 1.67 ERA and 19 strikeouts in 27 innings. Riverside batted just .245 on the weekend.

&\#149; Jared Deacon was 6-for-10 (.600) with a walk, an HBP and a SAC last weekend against UC Riverside. His six hits, tied him for the team lead with Ivory Thomas (6-for-14, .429) in the three game set.

&\#149; Greg Velazquez led the Titans with three RBI on the weekend. The freshman had a key two-run pinch-hit single in the late innings of Saturday's ballgame. And drove in another early on Sunday with a double.

&\#149;Tyler Pill has tied Richy Pedroza for the longest hitting streak of the year at 10 games. Pill hit in all three games last weekend, and his last hit, a game-winning single extended his streak in his last at bat on Sunday. Carlos Lopez and Nick Ramirez also have significant streaks, currently standing at nine games.